Wednesday

"Some sort of wiener thing"?

Hi,
I have a peeve that is getting worse as the situation intensifies. Our 25 year old Polish nanny seems to struggle with feminine itching.  She has only been with us for three months. This is something I thought I noticed in my peripheral vision when I was leaving for work, and another time from a distance. I of course, said nothing and moved on.

Yesterday, a friend of mine came up to me and told me that she had met the new nanny and she was lovely and so good with both kids. She asked me if she could ask her or if I would ask her about any similarly minded friends she might have because she was looking for a part time nanny.

I said sure, of course. She thanked me. Then as we were parting, she says, "You know, I have to say, and not to be mean, but what is with the itching?" Right away it clicked in my head what I had seen before, but my face must have looked quizzical. My friend says, ""really not to be mean, but she was attentive to both kids, but she kept walking away to the bushes. I realized then that when she turned and faces the bushes, she was frantically itching her nether regions".

I said, "What????" truly shocked by now the "frantically" part.

My friend says, "No, I shouldn't say anything, I'm sorry, I mean she must have some sort of weiner thing going on? Maybe buy the girl some yogurt."

Now, I didn't know how to respond because I am talking to a SAHM and I am a working Mom so the balance always lies in her authority as being present, in the home, in the preschool, on the playground. I couldn't help but feel that this, was somehow reflective of me. I immediately felt guilty and embarrassed, and a little mad.

My friend sees this, and says, "Oh God, no, I'm sorry. It was just hard not to notice."
I said, "Well she must have a personal thing going on, I hope she can sort it out privately."
Now my friend laughs and says, "if she sorted it out privately, I wouldn't know about it." and then she made a snippy comment and went on her way.

The reason I am writing is for feedback. Do you think it is possible that the mom friend noticed something, even obscure and is intentionally making it seem like a public health concern/epic incident just because she resents that I have found a certain caliber of nanny? Do I address this? And how?
Trying to sort something out? Share it with us by email at isynblog@gmail.com, always confidential.


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeast infection?

RBTC said...

You seem to be very caring and circumspect - it's something she needs to know about - and that's how you should approach it "Janie, you are wonderful etc etc but some of my friends have noticed etc and we need to work together to solve it..." - keep us posted

Corina said...

Do you know if she has health coverage? If not could you offer to help cover partial costs so she can go to a Gynocologist. It may be as simple as someone mentioned as a yeast infection. But she still needs to see a doctor.
Side note it's kinda of gross as in she is out in public itching. Then does she wash her hands after? Or are those same hands touching your kids, their snacks, etc.

Kara Ivy said...

I think you should address it with her in the same way you'd want your boss to address it towards you. If you'd rather your boss not address such a PRIVATE and PERSONAL matter to you because it would embarrass you then I wouldn't do it to her. You need to treat her the same way you'd like to be treated. If you do address know that this is really going to embarrass her and a lot, please try to be extremely sensitive and maybe you could even tell her it happened to you before and you wanted to help her because you know how awfully frustrating it is, tell her you'll help her with the costs of the appt and help set one up. You could even offer to buy her some hydrocortisone cream that might help. Please come off like you are being a concerned friend. As far as your friend I don't think she is telling you to get you back in anyway, if this person truly is your friend I'm sure shes happy for you. I wish you luck and keep us updated, I'm curious to know the outcome.

Nadine Johanna Stewart said...

It's probably a yeast infection. Did she get antibiotics?

Isabel said...

I respectfully disagree with @RBTC. Please don't mention that others have noticed. It will increase her embarrassment exponentially! I can barely imagine being on either side of this mortifying conversation, but agree that it could be an issue of her not knowing how, or being able, to get medical attention.

RBTC said...

also respectfully - visual things and appearances REALLY matter in the child care industry - as an owner i have to talk to people about visual issues on a regular basis and it is not fun - hinting usually does not work, i have to be direct - usuing many of the ideas above

i have to be careful with myself also as i am in my 50's and some clients want younger workers, also recently ( strangely) i wound up with a tempoary rash on my face and lost alot of money over the weekend as i had to replace my own self till the rash healed

the point being - visual things are a really big deal in regard to kids and need to be handled for the sake of the kids who come 1st - but there are more than one way to handle things and all suggestions are good

Anonymous said...

@RBTC: I agree that visual things in this industry matter greatly, but this is also a medical issue that needs to be resolved for the safety of the nanny and possibly the children.

@OP: Please don't mention that other people have noticed her itching, I feel she would be mortified and ashamed and may end up quitting out of embarrassment. Just talk to her like you'd talk to your friend and ask her if she is okay and offer to pay a portion of any medication/doctor office visits. Since she is your employee, it is in your best interest to keep her healthy. Don't feel it is a reflection of you, and don't worry about other moms being jealous of your nanny situation-not sure why people put such an emphasis on what other's think of their relationships/employee situations.

This is your nanny, and your family. Do what's right for both.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Hm, I don't think the OP needs to or even should help the nanny with the medical bills. I'm sorry, but it is ultimately an expanse that everyone pays for themselves. Also, she should have some kind of health insurance, isn't it compulsory these days? If not through employer, then through the AHA/marketplace?
Yes, it might be embarrassing to bring it up but in the end - if it's so bad that the nanny goes 'into the bushes' to scratch her crotch then you need to tell her. She cares for your children and is meant to be their example - what do your kids learn seeing her scratching her crotch? That it's ok? Also, I didn't even think about the hand washing/food handing but now, I'm doubly grossed out. Whether she has yeast infection or something else (it could be as innocent that she shaves herself on weekends and then it itches as her pubic hair grows back), ultimately it doesn't matter. The nanny is young, only 25, as a woman who is most likely older than her, you can tell her that feminine health is extremely important if she ever plans to have children of her own. But please, offering to help with doctor's visit/medical bills is ridiculous - you are not her parent but her employer!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but that is her EMPLOYEE. I don't know about anyone else but my employer pays for my medical. An expense that everyone pays for themselves? Sorry, but you either have a terrible job, no job, or are naive.

Also, I didn't say she shouldn't bring it up, I said she shouldn't bring up that other people have seen her scratching, I'm sure it's embarrassing enough to be itchy there.

Again- if the employer cares about her employee, and her children, the human thing, and the normal employer/employee thing to do would be to offer help and healthcare. I work full time and my EMPLOYER pays for my insurance, and I give my nanny an insurance plan that I pay partial for. Like most employers. Glad we got that out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Just a clarification - Health insurance, yes. Helping with the cost of medication, paying for a doctor's visit - no.
I don't consider offering health insurance as a help with medical bills. By the 'expense everyone pays for themselves' I mean the actual expense AFTER the health insurance - whether it's OOP cost, co-pay or nanny decides to go to the out of network doctor. This is an expense everyone pays for themselves.
In a corporate world, if you are sick, the CEO won't come down and ask if you need help with your co-pay. If you chose not to buy health insurance through your employer, the CEO or HR won't ask if perhaps they should pay for a portion of your doctor's visit.
The OP didn't mention if she's offering health insurance to the nanny or if the nanny decided not to accept the offered health insurance. The OP can give an advance on the paycheck to the nanny or lend the money needed but she should not pay for the nanny to see a doctor (whether it's a copay if there's insurance involved or a full fee if no insurance). Sure, she can choose to, just like she can choose to give the nanny a rise every month or give her a large bonus 'just because'. But it is not something 'good employers' have to do.
As to my nanny job, I work part time (well under 30 hrs weekly which is when legally, one would qualify for health insurance through employer) for a wonderful family that pays me very well (well above the market value). They did offer to help me with the cost of health insurance but I declined. Instead they are paying the amount they were planning on spending on my premium directly to me. I bought my health (and dental) insurance through my university. If I got sick now and didn't go to the doctor, they shouldn't be expected to offer to pay for my doctor's visit or buy me meds. This is MY expense to cover. Now, if a child or family dog caused me to break my leg, then yes, they should be paying. And if they require me to have a flu vaccine during flu season they should reimburse it (unless it was specified in a contract as a prerequisite to work, then they can elect to pay it in full, in part or not at all).
Btw, I come from a family of lawyers (grandfather, father and 2 of my siblings) - it's very hard to screw me over

Anonymous said...

I bet most nannies are not provided insurance. As a matter of fact I bet a lot are not even paid on the books. How many receive vacation, sick or personal time? Not as many as you think.
IF she doesn't have coverage the kind thing would be for employer to help her out. That is all we are saying.

Corina said...

I don't know why I am showing anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think a lot of nannies get insurance through their families either. However, I think quite a few get extra $$ to help with the cost of it when they buy it through marketplace. Or if they are young, they are most likely still on their parents insurance (I think the cut off is 26 or 27). In the end it is a benefit and all of us choose if we find the work, pay, perks, etc acceptable or not. Before becoming a nanny and going back to grad school I worked in the corporate world and it was up to me to decide to accept the job or not, and to negotiate. It really is the same with nanny jobs. Sure, you cannot not work but it's the same for people who work entry level jobs, off-the-books or get 5 days of vacation after working for 1 year. It sucks unless you are lucky, well connected or extraordinary, and that's just the reality!

nannyrobot said...

"I noticed you scratching your private area a few times lately. I know this is a private and embarrassing issue, but is there something I can do to help? I apologize if my question is too personal. I just don't want you to feel embarrassed by it in public and I want you to know that I'm a woman too and I'm not here to judge." State it like that, in a non-judgemental, non-accusatory way and she might open up. She might not have anyone she can talk to about it. Maybe she has a yeast infection, vaginal dryness, ingrown hair, razor bumps, or other condition that she's embarrassed to talk about and doesn't know how to fix. If you open up the dialogue she might feel more comfortable talking to you about it. Then you can tell her what you know about *insert condition here* and what she can do/purchase to fix it.

nannyrobot said...

"I noticed you scratching your private area a few times lately. I know this is a private and embarrassing issue, but is there something I can do to help? I apologize if my question is too personal. I just don't want you to feel embarrassed by it in public and I want you to know that I'm a woman too and I'm not here to judge." State it like that, in a non-judgemental, non-accusatory way and she might open up. She might not have anyone she can talk to about it. Maybe she has a yeast infection, vaginal dryness, ingrown hair, razor bumps, or other condition that she's embarrassed to talk about and doesn't know how to fix. If you open up the dialogue she might feel more comfortable talking to you about it. Then you can tell her what you know about *insert condition here* and what she can do/purchase to fix it.